• Robert Cole

What does a shot in the arm mean to you?

What does a shot in the arm mean to you? I know what it means to me. It is a reminder of how fragile the simple things in life truly are. It reminds me how I will never again take for granted an Easter church service, a summer concert, or a fall football game. It is a souvenir from a journey that helped me grow as a physician, colleague and most importantly, as a father and husband.

With this shot, I again sensed the pain of a year that felt like it would never end. Of terrible phones calls to heartbroken families who made the most impressive sacrifice, accepting their loved one would die alone, only to be comforted by complete strangers.

With this shot, I remember the young who died far too early and the old that were cheated out of precious time with their children and grandchildren during their final years. I reflect on the bravery of the nurses, respiratory therapists and other staff that never wavered in their care.

With this shot comes pain. Pain of the past and uncertainty of the future. But with this pain comes hope. I have Hope that there is a new appreciation for life. A new respect for hugging your parent or shaking a friend’s hand. I have hope that the next few months will bring healing and togetherness at a time when we need it the most.

This shot reminds me there are better days to come. Things will be different, and healing will take time. But for one moment, I feel relief and comfort and optimism. This shot felt very much the same as many vaccines I have received before. Yet, I am also quite certain, it felt much different.

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